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University of Central Florida faculty call on school to release millions in CARES Act funding for raises, bonuses

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

University of Central Florida faculty are calling on the college to use some of the money it got from the CARES Act to give faculty raises and COVID bonuses.

The University of Central Florida still has some $112 million dollars in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds leftover from the start of the pandemic. 

Some of this money is earmarked for student expenses, but United Faculty of Florida at UCF President Robert Cassanello says the rest should go toward raises and COVID bonuses for teaching faculty.

“What UCF employees need is direct relief as we are exiting the second year of the pandemic. The president and provost of UCF has showered UCF faculty and employees with praise and we have heard how proud they are of us. But talk is cheap.”

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He says some of this money should also go to cover professors’ COVID-related teaching expenses.

“When we rapidly switched to remote teaching there were faculty who immediately had to purchase new computers, headphones, cameras to meet the need of their students and there was never an offer to reimburse them for the extra cost to teaching during the pandemic.”

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The UCF Board of Trustees gave President Alexander Cartwright a bonus of $197,000 dollars for directing the college through the pandemic.

In a statement, UCF says this bonus was, "part of his compensation package and is not directly connected to the pandemic" and maintains, "the federal deadline for spending dollars awarded in the latest HEERF round is next year. We continue to utilize those dollars in line with both the purpose and requirements set by the federal government."

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.